Slow Cooker Browns-in-the-Crockpot Spicy Ground Beef Taco Meat
Ground Beef goes in the slow cooker with spices and hot sauce, and a few hours later you have perfectly browned and seasoned Crockpot Spicy Ground Beef Taco Meat for taco salad or ground beef tacos!
When I used to teach school I would take Kalyn’s Perfect Taco Salad for lunch several times a week, and I’m still a huge taco salad fan even now when I have more lunch options. And I love having little containers of this ground beef taco meat in the freezer so I can make taco salad whenever I start to crave it. So when I first saw this idea for cooking ground beef in the slow cooker without pre-browning the meat, of course I had to try it! Since then I’ve been a complete convert to this method, and if you stop by my house you’ll always find Slow Cooker Browns-in-the-Crockpot Spicy Ground Beef Taco Meat in the freezer!
I love the ground beef tacos you get at Mexican restaurants, where the meat is highly seasoned and very finely broken apart, so that’s what I was going for when I worked on this recipe. I used a very generous amount of Cholula Original Hot Sauce to season the meat, so if you’re making this for kids (or adults who don’t like much heat) you probably want to use the smaller amount listed in the recipe. I let the meat cook for nearly four hours on high for that broken-apart texture I like so much, mashing with an old-fashioned Potato Masher about once every hour.
There’s a lot to love about this Crockpot Spicy Ground Beef Taco Meat, but an added bonus is that you can cook this meat in the slow cooker without heating up the house, so you can enjoy Taco Salad all summer long. (On my other blog, Slow Cooker or Pressure Cooker, I’m sharing Summer Dinners for the next few months, and this is definitely perfect for that!)
Some people start with frozen ground beef, but that didn’t appeal to me so I thawed the meat overnight in the fridge. Put 3 pounds of very lean ground beef in the slow cooker, breaking it apart with your hands. (I used the Ninja Cooker that Lydia sent me, but you can use any 4-5 quart slow cooker.) Mix together Cholula hot sauce, ground cumin, garlic powder, onion powder, black pepper, salt, and water. Pour the spicy mixture over the ground beef. Then use a large spoon to stir the seasoning mixture into the ground beef and start to cook on high.
After an hour I used my Potato Masher to start to break the meat apart. At this point I was worried that I shouldn’t have added the water, but it worked out fine. At two hours I mashed the mixture with the potato masher again, and the water was being absorbed nicely. After three hours the ground beef is getting to be just the texture I wanted. It was probably done enough at this point, but I let it cook about 45 minutes more. I got quite a few little containers of seasoned ground beef to put in the freezer, and each one was enough to make a large taco salad or several tacos.
I make this Crockpot Spicy Ground Beef Taco Meat over and over, every time I run out of taco meat in the freezer!
More Tacos from the Slow Cooker or Pressure Cooker:
Pressure Cooker (or Slow Cooker) Low-Carb Flank Steak Tacos ~ Kalyn’s Kitchen
The BEST Slow Cooker Mexican Food Recipes ~ Slow Cooker or Pressure Cooker
Instant Pot (or Slow Cooker) Low-Carb Cheesy Chicken Tacos ~ Kalyn’s Kitchen
The BEST Slow Cooker Beef Tacos ~ Slow Cooker or Pressure Cooker
Instant Pot (or Slow Cooker) Low-Carb Greek Pork Tacos ~ Kalyn’s Kitchen
Taco Tuesdays Archives Page ~ Slow Cooker or Pressure Cooker
Weekend Food Prep:
This recipe has been added to a new category called Weekend Food Prep to help you find recipes you can prep or cook on the weekend and eat during the week!
Slow Cooker Browns-in-the-Crockpot Spicy Ground Beef Taco Meat
I love this idea of using the slow cooker to brown ground beef to make spicy taco meat and I make this often so I can always have meat on hand for Kalyn’s Perfect Taco Salad! I used my 6 quart Ninja Cooker to make this, but it was barely over half full, so any 4 or 5 quart slow cooker will do.
- 3 lb. lean ground beef (I used lean ground beef with 9% fat; I wouldn’t use fatty ground beef since you’re not draining the meat)
- 1/2 – 3/4 cup Cholula hot sauce (Buy the big size bottle at Costco or at a Mexican market for this recipe. For kids, I would definitely use the smaller amount of hot sauce.)
- 2 T ground cumin
- 2 T garlic powder
- 2 T onion powder
- 1 tsp. coarse grind black pepper (or less, to taste)
- salt to taste (I used only about 1/2 tsp.)
- 1/4 cup water (plus a little more water as needed if you’re using the smaller amount of hot sauce)
- Thaw ground beef overnight in the fridge, or if you forget to plan ahead, thaw in hot water for about 20-30 minutes. Spray cooker with non-stick spray, then put the thawed ground beef into the slow cooker, breaking it apart with your hands.
- Mix Cholula hot sauce, ground cumin, garlic powder, onion powder, black pepper, salt, and water. Pour the hot sauce mixture over the ground beef and use a large spoon to stir it into the meat.
- Cook the meat and spice mixture on high for 3-4 hours. After each hour, remove the lid and use an old-fashioned Potato Masher to mash the meat mixture about 8-10 times, so that by the time it is done the meat will be finely crumbled.
- If you’re using the smaller amount of hot sauce, you might want to add a couple of tablespoons of water part way through the cooking time. (You can probably cook this for 6-8 hours on low and mash it every couple of hours, but I haven’t tried that.)
- Use meat mixture to makeKalyn’s Perfect Taco Salad or any Ground Beef Tacos or Beef Burritos of your choice. I freeze mine in small containers so I can thaw it quickly in the microwave whenever that Taco Salad craving hits me.
This recipe created by Kalyn but inspired by quite a few other variations I saw on Pinterest!All images and text ©
Low-Carb Diet / Low-Glycemic Diet / South Beach Diet Suggestions:
This low-carb and gluten-free taco meat is perfect for Kalyn’s Perfect Taco Salad, or eat the meat inside lettuce cups or over cauliflower rice or slaw for a meal that’s suitable for the low-carb eating plans and The South Beach Diet Phase One. Or use low-carb tortillas and make tacos if you prefer.
Find More Recipes Like This One:
Use the Recipes by Diet Type photo index pages to find more recipes suitable for a specific eating plan. You might also like to Follow Kalyn’s Kitchen on Pinterest to see all the good recipes I’m sharing there.
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